This summer is not much different than the past 100 or so summers in the Valley – it’s hot and all most folks want to do is throw on a bathing suit and jump in the pool to escape the sweltering heat. The problem – most of us still have to work! And, I’d venture to guess that most of us would prefer to wear tank tops and walk around in flip flops during the workweek.
But, for your organization, how hot is too hot with regard to summer dress codes and where does one draw the line?
“Many HR managers and executive keep it simple – they communicate to employees to exercise professional judgment in their workday dress,” said Chris Mason, a partner at Fisher & Phillips Law Firm in Phoenix. “However, once the temperature exceeds 110 degrees a dozen or so times, the summer heat can get the better of employee judgment.”
So, if your business doesn’t have an official dress code for summer or any other season, perhaps it is time to put some basic guidelines in place.
Mason and Fisher & Phillips offer some questions to get you started:
1. What kind of working environment am I hoping to achieve? Based on this answer, perhaps a casual summer dress code IS in order.
2. What has been the practice within our area and industry? Don’t reinvent the wheel, what works for others in your industry will most likely work for your business.
3. Is there any risk of implementing a policy that alienates employees? Always be respectful of employees to ensure they respect the policies of the organization right back.
4. How big an issue is this among employees to begin with?
5. Where am I prepared to draw the line, and what steps am I prepared to take to enforce it? Always make a plan before jumping into any new policy.
6. What is the most effective way to communicate our standards to employees? Have fun with this – try to get away from an interoffice memo and call for a summer breakfast meeting or mid-day iced coffee talk to communicate any new policy.
7. Are we prepared to live with any internal dress code guidelines, and have they been reviewed lately?
“Honest answers to these questions can save a good deal of heartache – and uncomfortable conversations with employees down the road. Look to maintain a policy that makes good sense for business reasons and be prepared to explain the business rationale behind it. If you can satisfy yourself in each of these areas, chances are you are well on your way to a successful summer – casual or not,” said Mason.